Abahlali baseMjondolo is the largest movement of the poor in South Africa. It is not a political party. It is working for shack dwellers and other poor people, like street traders. Abahlali has members in 34 shack settlements across Durban and as far away as Pietermaritzburg and Tongaat.
Abahlali grew out of a protest organised from the Kennedy Road settlement. On 18 March 2005 bulldozers started digging up a piece of land next to the Kennedy Road settlement which had long been promised for housing. People discovered from the workers on
the site that this wasn’t the beginning of the long promised housing development but that a brick factory was being built. They gathered on the promised land, stopped the construction and asked the local councillor to come and explain what was happening. He arrived with the police and demanded the arrest of his constituents. They are, he said, criminal. That night there was a mass meeting in the settlement. After long and careful discussion a new course of action was decided on. Early the next morning a
few hundred people barricaded a nearby 6 lane road with burning tyres and held it against the riot police for 4 hours suffering
14 arrests. Alfred Mdletshe told Fred Kockott, the fi rst journalist on the scene, that ‘We are tired of living and walking
in shit. The council must allocate land for housing us. Instead they are giving it to property developers to make money’.
The day after the road blockade 1200 people staged an illegal march on the police station where the 14 were being held. Their demand was that either the 14 be released or else the entire community be arrested because ‘If they are criminal then we are all criminal’. The march was dispersed with more beatings, dogs and tear gas. At a packed meeting in the Kennedy Road hall that afternoon the chair of the Kennedy Road committee S’bu Zikode declared that ‘We are on our own now’.
The first two illegal protests from Kennedy Road were followed by a series of legal marches on the nearby local councillors, some involving more than 5000 people. In each of these marches the protestors carried a mock coffin and then staged a performance of a funeral for the councillor outside his office. On 6 October 2005 17 men and 15 women elected as representatives from 12 settlements that now had committees supporting the shack dwellers’ struggle met to formally constitute themselves into a
movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, and to commit themselves to stand together and to fight together for popular democracy and land and housing in the city. Since then Abahlali have democratised the governance of settlements, stopped evictions, won access to local schools, won some victories around services like water, toilets and refuse removal; got top class legal support and won a number of victories in court; made the voice of shack dwellers very strong in the media; set up crèches, a sewing co-operative
and vegetable gardens; enabled collective bargaining with the state and capital and seriously challenged the city’s slum
clearance project that wants to move most shack dwellers out of the city and dump them in formal jondolos in rural areas.
Inhlangano yaBahlali baseMjondolo inhlangano enkulu yabantu abampofu eNingizimu Afrika. Akusiyo inhlangano yezepolitiki. Isebenzisana nabanye Abahlali baseMjondolo okubalwa kubo nabadayisi basemgwaqeni, Inamalungu emijondolo engu 34 eyehlukene .Ikhule
ngokuqala kubhikishwe eKennedy Road ngoMashi 2005. Umhlaba abawuthenjiswa ukuthi bazokwakhelwa kuwo bathola ukuthi usudayiselwe abacebile, Lokhu kwabenza bagana unwabu, baqonda lapho bavimba ukuthi kuqhutshekwe nokwakhiwa .Bamashela ku M19 bashisa amathayi lapho kwaboshwa khona abawu 14. uAlfred Mdletshe ohlala kuKennedy wathi bakhathele ukudlala amakhansela ebadayisa .etshela intatheli u-Fred Kockott emva kwalokho Abahlali abawu1200 kuKennedy bamasha befuna kudedelwe amalungu abo awu 14 kodwa avinjwa ngamaphoyisa ngezinja nesisa esikhalisa unyembezi. Ngalobobusuku uSbu Zikode owayengusihlalo ngalesosikhathi emhlanganweni womphakathi wathi “Sisele Sodwa”.
Amamashi angekho emthethweni alandelwa amanye ayesemthethweni okwakumashelwa amakhansela angasebenzi. Yayinabantu abawu 5000
.kwakungcwatshwa ikhansela (Mock Funeral). Bazibophezele ukulwela umhlaba nezindlu,ukususwa ngenkani. Emashini eyasukela ku Foreman Abahlali abawu 45.Sebeke bamenywa kwi nkulumo mpikiswano ne Meya ye Theku u Obed Mlaba ku Asikhulume uhlelo olukumabonakude.Ngo Septhemba 11, I GAGASI FM lamema u Sbu Zikode no Philani Zungu kanye no Mnikelo Ndabankulu,ukuthi bachaza
kabanzi ngomzabalazo wabahlali. Kodwa ababange besafi ka ngenxa yamaphoyisa ase Sydenham police station. Babavimba babathuka ngezikibha ezibomvu babashaya,bahamba nabo e police station lapho bafi ke baqhubeka nokuba xhaphaza ngesibhaxu.UMnikelo bamkhumulisa isikibha sakhe esibomvu ngoba bethi asingeni e police station. Bathi bazosenza isikolobho sabo.
Ngakusasa bavela e nkantolo belimele ngenxa yokushaywa kanzima amaphoyisa. Unsumpa wale police station u Glen Nayeger wathwetshulwa amanye amaphoyisa eshaya ngesihluku o Sbu no Philani ebangqubuza ezindongeni nokwa holela ekutheni u Philani aquleke. Nase Motala Heights kwenziwa isihluku esifanayo sokuhlukunyezwa kwabantu amaphoyisa, nakweminye imijondolo eminingi.Lolu
dlame olubhekiswe kwabampofu lusho ukuthi Abahlali Base Mjondolo basahlalelwe umsebenzi omkhulu wokususwa nokufudulwa kwabantu ngenkani ezindaweni zabo.Abahlali basebenza kanzima beqoqa bafundise imphakathi ngamalungelo abo. Nokubhekana no Masipala ukuthi uma ebahlukumeza, kumele bamyise kanjani eNkantolo. Umzabalazo uyaqhubeka.